For centuries Charles has been the hand of justice for the Marrok, tracking down werewolves who break the law of the Pack and ending their lives with a dedication that has made him appear cool and distant from the rest of his kind. No one realises that it is a facade, a carefully maintained mask that has allowed him to find some peace. That peace is slowly eroding as the Marrok brings in harsher laws and expects Charles to enforce them. Before the existence of werewolves was made public there was a certain amount of leeway, a margin of leniency that allowed new wolves to settle down and learn to balance the human and wolf parts of their nature. On his most recent outing Charles had to deal with three new wolves who killed a pedophile, and even though they were lawful kills Anna can see that there is something troubling her mate - and not just because he has shut down their mate bond and isolated himself from all the things he enjoys.
When three werewolves are murdered the Marrok sends Anna to help the federal agents on the - and because where his mate goes he goes, Charles finds himself in the city of Boston at a time when he and Brother Wolf are not necessarily seeing eye-to-eye. It is difficult to be around people when he is feeling unbalanced, and the guilt he has been feeling is building more with each day, not just because of the kills he has made but also because he can feel the damage he is doing to the mate bond with Anna. As they learn more about the case, they discover that the murdered werewolves are just the latest in a long line of victims, and no few of the victims are preternatural creatures. Being unbalanced and feeling disconnected from Brother Wolf is never a good thing, and a misstep could mean Charles looses his life - or even worse, he might loose Anna. In a race against time Charles and Anna need to untangle the lies from the truth and figure out who the bad guys are before it is too late and the killers complete their cycle for another year.
Fair game is the third book in the Alpha and Omega series and this is very much a turning point in the series - Anna is slowly discovering her strength as a werewolf and as a woman who has survived abuse and violence over many years. I had forgotten just how much Anna develops over the series, and it has only been reading the series in such a short space of time that has allowed me to have a better handle on the characters and how they relate to each other. Briggs appears to have treated Anna with a great deal of respect in this series, she allows her time to get over the trauma but also doesn't treat her as a victim - her wolf comes to the fore when she needs to and provides her with strength and release (depending on what she needs). It is a real pleasure too seeing a different side to Charles, who is described as almost inhuman in the Mercy Thompson series, through this series and his relationship with Anna we get to see that he has many layers - and *gasp* even a sense of humour!
This is an excellent series that strikes the right balance with world building and not drowning you in inconsequential details. There are elements of the thriller and crime, as well as a smidge of romance to keep everyone happy. Reading the series in the recommended order has also been great, as I read one or two out of sequence previously and there were some spoilers because of that. A fun series to read, and there is a lot to like here - so why haven't you started reading the series yet?
The recommended reading order is:
- Moon called
- Cry wolf (Alpha and Omega)
- Hunting ground (Alpha and Omega)
- Blood bound
- Iron kissed
- Bone crossed
- Silver borne
- River marked
- Fair game (Alpha and Omega)
- Frost burned
- Dead heat (Alpha and Omega)
- Night broken
And to fill in the gaps there are some new (and old) short stories in:
- Shifting shadows: Stories from the world of Mercy Thompson
If you like this book then try:
- Tinker by Wen Spencer
- Night shifted by Cassie Alexander
- Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
- Dark descendant by Jenna Black
- Burning water by Mercedes Lackey
- Blood price by Tanya Huff
- Urban shaman by C.E. Murphy
- Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
- Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
- Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway
Reviewed by Brilla